Devil's Club - Herbal Medicine
Collection and cultivation
Flowers in early spring, berries in mid-summer
Location: Alaska, pacific northwest
Parts Used: Inner bark, stems, roots, berries
as you can see the spines are sharp
Cultivate: Typically only wild harvested, sensitive to overharvesting. Late fall or early spring.
AROMA: pungent, spicy, piney
TASTE: bitter yet fresh
LOOKS: slow growing shrub, big 6”-14’’ umbrella-like, maple-shaped leaves, sharp-needle like, thorny stems, white flowers, red berries.
Known as the native tribe, “Tlingit aspirin”
Strips and chops devils club stalk, scraping off the pokey painful spines, using the inner bark for decoction or poultice,
Respiratory (cough pneumonia), cardiovascular (heart disease), gastrointestinal (diarrhea, laxative, emetic), cancer, cough, cold or infection (flu, fever, tuberculosis, & leprosy), diabetes, gallstones, hypoglycemia, stomach ulcer, venereal pain, arthritis, rheumatism, birth control, blood purification/blood disorders, analgesic for swelling and pain.
*Used in more than 30 medicinal categories across 25 indigenous groups.
Araliaceae family (same as ginseng)
Also known as the “Alaskan ginseng”
Polyenes: falcarinol & oplopandiol (antimicrobial), research suggests thatnerolidol (50% EO anticancer)
Sesquiterpenes: nerplomacrol and neroplofurol
Other: oleic acid, fatty acids, tannins, glycerides, saponins,
ACTION & USES:
Internally: antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiproliferative, [lung, breast, ovarian, colon research] cancer (70% ethanol extraction), chemoprotective, antimycobacterial tuberculosis, respiratory.
Topically: sores, skin ailments, and wound healing, (swollen glands, boils, infection, burns). Fractures and broken bones.
Cold infusion: 1-3 fl oz
Tincture: 15-30 drops (1:2 fresh. 1:5 dry, 60% alcohol)
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Safe for consumption when used appropriately. Pregnant women should not consume Devil’s Claw.
Native uses of Devils Clubs, and other interesting information:
Devils club: a medicine cabinet for alaska tribe
Calway, T., Du, G.-J., Wang, C.-Z., Huang, W.-H., Zhao, J., Li, S.-P., & Yuan, C.-S. (2012). Chemical and pharmacological studies of Oplopanax horridus, a North American botanical. Journal of Natural Medicines, 66(2), 249–256. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11418-011-0602-2